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Baroness vs. The Sword

Baroness, a behemoth in the sludge metal genre. The Sword, an initial force within Stoner Metal, transitioning later to Stoner Rock. Both bands ran within similar touring circles and had their highs within the same timeframe - late 2000's and early 2010's. Here goes a comparison of their discographies...
1The Sword
Age of Winters

First & Second (2004/2005) vs. Age of Winters (2006). Quite different releases. Baroness' early output was in the form of EPs, which included some progressive metal flourishes and a sound not dissimilar to early Mastodon. Age of Winters, on the other hand, firmly established The Sword's retro, stoner metal sound from the beginning. The Sword wins here, as their output was more fully formed from the beginning.
2The Sword
Gods of the Earth

Red Album (2007) vs. Gods of the Earth (2008). Although not my favorite albums from either band, both of these albums were pivotal in the progression of the bands. Purely subjective - but I tend to prefer Gods of the Earth.
Blue Record

Blue Record (2009) vs. Warp Riders (2010). Damn - my favorite album from both bands. Both of these albums are stellar...and I love Warp Riders. But I have to give this to Baroness just for how unique the Blue Album was - nothing else sounded remotely like it.
Yellow and Green

Yellow & Green (2012) vs. Apocryphon (2012). Another great album from The Sword, although not as great as Warp Riders. Yellow & Green, a double album, was a huge musical shift for Baroness. I actually started listening to Baroness with Yellow & Green, and this album pulled me in - quickly purchasing the back catalog thereafter. I have to give this to Baroness for pushing the envelope.
5The Sword
High Country

Purple (2015) vs. High Country (2015). I like Purple a lot more than most - feel that it harkens back to the Blue Record, without losing the advancements made in Yellow & Green. I also like High Country alot, even though it was a massive departure from their sound on Warp Riders and Apocryphon. The Dreamthieves is one of the greatest stoner rock tracks ever released. I also have to give it to the Sword for deconstructing High Country into Low County - a further stripped-down but enjoyable compilation. As much as it pains me to not give Purple the win here - have to go with High Country for redefining The Sword's sound.
Gold and Grey

Used Future (2018) vs. Gold & Grey (2019). Used Future, unfortunately, was a less-spirited continuation of the musical path taken on High Country - and fell pretty flat. Gold & Grey was destined for greatness, but due to the poor mix, sounded like it was recorded in a tin can. Ultimately, both albums were disappointing - but will give this to Baroness, as some great songs were there and the mixing may have been out of their control.
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